Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.
Walker, there is no road, the road is made by walking. – Antonio Machado
On August 18th, the Run Club of Malden held its first meet-up at the track outside of Pine Banks Park. Our crew took our very first steps of the “Couch to 5k,” a program designed to help those who aren’t exercising regularly work their way toward running 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).
Couch to 5k programs take nine weeks to complete. Participants have to pace themselves. As we begin, we walk more than we run! Over the weeks, we work toward running more than walking, then running for longer and longer periods of time. Eventually, with dedication, we become runners. We become new people, and as Antonio Machado says, it begins with walking.
Just a few days later, Joanne Leisk and I drove to Burlington for a different type of walk.
We parked in the office lot of the local U.S. Immigration and Customes Enforcement, known colloquially as “ICE.” We were there along with 75 others to protest the government’s immigration enforcement policies that have separated children from parents in detention and not reunited them; to protest the way deporting undocumented people separates them from their families, as well. The form of our protest was a Jericho Walk.
The name comes from the book of Joshua. After God liberated them from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites approached the walled city of Jericho, which God promised to deliver into their hands. God instructed Joshua,
“See, I have handed Jericho over to you, along with its king and soldiers. You shall march around the city, all the warriors circling the city once. Thus you shall do for six days, with seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, the priests blowing the trumpets. When they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and all the people shall charge straight ahead.” – Joshua 6:2b-7
Unlike the first Jericho Walk during biblical times, this walk was interfaith. Priests, pastors, rabbis, and lay people joined together to share that our faith demands that we welcome strangers in our midst, not cause them harm. We prayed as we gathered. We sang. We were led by rabbis blowing the shofar, or ram’s horn. We marched in silence around the ICE facility where undocumented people are detained. At the end of our march, we prayed again and sang “This Land is Your Land” together:
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me!
Our journey of faith is not so different from training for a 5k. It takes time, preparation, and dedication. It is much easier done in a group than alone, and it begins by taking small steps – it begins with walking.
We believe that God gives this earth and its land to all people. We believe that we are called to welcome others. When we find that we, as a people, are not not practicing our hospitality well but harming others instead, we are called to act. This is not an easy task. There is no definitive roadmap of how to accomplish change in our immigration policies. Instead, we create the road to radical welcome by walking it: by trying different actions, from letter writing to phone calls to protests. In this case we make change literally by walking, grounded in prayer, praise, and the promise of God.
Walk with us.
What: Jericho Walk to support all immigrants
Where: 1000 District Ave, Burlington, MA
When: The 3rd Tuesday of the month, 1pm